125 workers die in job-related accidents only in January in Turkey
A total of 125 people died in work-related accidents in the first month of 2015, according to data released the same day Turkey approved a convention for better workplace safety for construction workers.
The Council for Workers’ Health and Work Safety (İSİG) said that at least 125 people died in workplace accidents in January alone, while this number was 101 for the same period in 2014, a year that work-related deaths peaked. Most of January’s workplace accidents occurred in the construction sector. According to the data, 29 people working in the construction sector lost their lives due to the job-related incidents. The timing of the release of İSİG’s data coincided with the approval of a convention of the International Labour Organization (ILO) concerning construction.
ILO Convention No. 167, Safety and Health in Construction, covers safety standards specifically for the construction sector. The convention also includes legislation that will pave the way for the convention’s regulations to be put into practice in order to minimize risks to worker safety. The convention was approved on Friday by a Cabinet decision and the results were published in the Official Gazette; it had been approved by the Turkish Parliament on Nov. 20, 2014.
The convention, which Ankara had failed to ratify for 27 years, came to the forefront after 10 workers were killed when an industrial elevator fell to the ground from the 32nd floor of a building under construction in İstanbul in September 2014. The convention applies to all construction activities, namely building, civil engineering and erection and dismantling work. This includes any process, operation or transport carried out at a construction site, from the preparation of the site to the completion of the project. The ILO convention says every lifting appliance or item of lifting gear, including their constituent elements, shall be of good construction and properly installed and used. The convention stipulates elevators be operated only by workers who have received appropriate training.
The convention also obliges each signatory country to take all necessary measures, including the provision of appropriate penalties and corrective measures, to ensure the effective enforcement of the provisions of the convention. According to Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) data, more than 1,500 construction workers in Turkey have died in work accidents over the past five years, while around 2,000 have been left with a disability. The lack of adequate monitoring of facilities is the main cause of accidents, with inspections of workplaces having fallen by 70 percent over the last 10 years.